Mercury, You're So Bizarre<p>
A Close-Up View of Mercury's Colors

By Jessica Santascoy, January 5, 2011

Welcome to the NASA Night Sky Network series about the seasons of planets in our solar system! We start with Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun.

Are there seasons on Mercury?
We can't see the shift from one season to the next. The seasons blend into each other, so that we can't tell when one seasons starts and another begins.

Why can't we see the change in seasons on Mercury?
Imagine you're on Mercury's surface. You'd see the sun rise, then stop at the zenith, reverse course briefly, stop again, then continue rising on the horizon. Now imagine your friends are in other places on Mercury. They'd see different motions of the sun, but they'd tell you they were just as strange as the views you were seeing. So, because of these motions of the sun, we can't see the shift in seasons on Mercury.

One more fun fact:
Mercury's temperature is one of the most extreme, ranging from 227 °C (441 °F ) at night and temperatures can drop to -173 °C (-279 °F) during the day.


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Clear skies and happy stargazing!

The NASA Night Sky Network is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in cooperation with NASA.